Mr. Manfre had to return the armada today, so they get a cab to my apartment around 11am. Mike’s at work, so the four of us go over to the third street promenade in Santa Monica. I’ve been here once or twice to see a movie but never really walked around. It’s warm in the sun but chilly in the shade. Lots of people are walking around. We pass an American Apparel and Maria wants to walk in. Mr. is in for it today. Fine by me; I love American Apparel. After that we’re all hungry so stop at Cabo Cantina for a quick bite. We sit outside drinking enormous margaritas and munching on chips and salsa. Maria and I share one, Mr. and Mrs. share one, and I can’t believe it, but they finish before us. Mr. is sucking it dry and Mrs. has to tell him it’s gone. “There’s none left, dear.” “What?!?” Maria and I chug the rest of ours, and we continue on our way.
I like walking around with Mrs. and Maria because they like to stop and look and shop. We look at hats, clothes, shoes, phone covers: you name it. Mr. is kept entertained (I hope) by everything in the promenade – there’s lots of singers, a drummer who does tricks, a guitar player, and then some random talents, too.
At the end of the promenade we head up to a sort of outside mall and settle for lunch at the Sonoma Wine Garden. I saw the sign downstairs and immediately wanted to come here. It’s a really cool place and I definitely want to go back. There’s a pretty outside deck and the food and wine are delicious. Mrs. and I drink the same wine – of course I forget, but it was a chardonnay. Scrumptious. Maria tells me to order her a white that is NOT a chardonnay (that’s what she was drinking last night).
The more things I do with the Manfre’s the more ideas I have for when other people come to visit. This trip has been trial and error and thankfully, just going well. I wasn’t even planning on doing the promenade and so far, it’s been one of my favorite places. After lunch we continue our walk to the Santa Monica Pier – it’s very close.
I’m so happy when we get to the pier and Mr. leads us off to the left to the boardwalk so we don’t actually have to walk on the pier. “Is there anything out there we need to see?” I can actually tell him no since I’ve been out there. It’s really just for the view, unless you want to go on the rides. But it’s incredibly crowded and super windy. I make sure to snap a picture of them in front of the pier. That’s all you really need.
We continue along the boardwalk, taking in the sights of all the apartments right off the beach, the ocean to our right, countless palm trees, and weirdos. We walk all the way until we’re on the Venice boardwalk. More weirdos. Mr. likes to remind me that Mike and I fit right in.
It’s a long, leisurely walk back to the apartment, and we all seem pretty beat when we get there. Naps are in order. A cab comes and the Manfre’s head back to their hotel. I lay down and try to sleep unsuccessfully, so I watch an episode of Greek. Mike will probably have another late night because he’s working at American Idol, so he plans to meet us at Tara’s house. She ends up canceling and I’m so bummed. Like, I think I’m more bummed than the Manfre’s. Tara and Rich have been really busy with work and wedding planning stuff and I think it was bad timing. Rich has been really sick recently, too. Tara probably kept saying yes because she knew how much I wanted to bring the Manfre’s over, but if she’s anything like me (she is), she probably got overwhelmed. I tell her not to worry about it, it’s OK, but now I’m in my freak out mode of, what are we going to do now?
Text Mike right away. “Sushi?” We had planned to do sushi because it’s so good around here, but it didn’t end up fitting in with our plans. I try to find a BYO because we have all this wine that we were going to bring to Tara’s, but can’t find any local ones. Maria texts and tells me not to worry about BYO. Besides, we can drink at the apartment before and after dinner. OK, Hama is less than a ten minute walk and has amazing sushi. I call and make a 930 reservation and hope Mike will make it home by then. The Manfre’s come over around 8, followed by Troy and Jason.
We sit and talk and drink and as we have all week, wait for Mike. It seems like a celebration every time he walks in the door. He gets home just before 9:30, looking tired but excited to hang out with his family. Troy and Jason say bye and head home. I think Troy doesn’t want to impose, and also he told me he doesn’t have the money to go out. I hear ya, Troy. Struggling in California is just the way it is, it seems.
Dinner is fun and the sushi is delicious. We cheers to their last night with us. There’s a big pull-down screen playing weird TV shows through dinner, but at the very end, the music video for Hotel California comes on, with the words playing underneath. It’s like karoake, and even if it’s not, we treat it that way as we all sing loudly along with the song. We’re all cracking up as Mr. starts passionately playing the air drums. Truly, he gets goofier and goofier every time I see him. And to think, I used to be intimidated by him. We start laughing even harder as we realize we’ve all been singing the words wrong for all these years. It says, “So I called up the captain, please bring me my wine.” I thought it was wife, not wine. Both make sense for the following line which is, “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.” I thought it meant his wife’s spirit but it meant the alcohol spirit. Two different definitions. Completely changing the meaning of the song! It blows my mind. Mike and I try to take out our cards to help pay for dinner but Mr. and Mrs. refuse. They’ve really taken care of us too much on this trip. Not that I’m really complaining.
Back at the apartment we all have another glass of wine and watch Saturday Night Live together. We eat dessert that Mrs. bought for tonight: there’s madeleines, chocolate cake, and a fruit tart. Mr. starts calling all of us fru-tards. Get it? Well, we might just be easily amused at this point.